Insulating your new home properly is one of the best things you can do to be green, and save green too! Over the years, insulation requirements for homes have been steadily increasing. Today’s homes are some of the best-insulated homes ever built. To put this in perspective, just five years ago the standard roof insulation was R-22. Today R-38 is standard. So in a five-year time frame, we have almost doubled the standard insulation values. Insulation values are governed by the national energy code which is updated regularly.
A word about construction…
We also have improved building science techniques which include spray foaming around electrical outlets, openings, and windows. The windows are sealed with silicone and flashed to prevent air infiltration. All floor sheathing is glued to the trusses and interior paneling is glued to the wall studs, both of which reduce air infiltration. This means lower heating bills for you.
In modular homes, our standard insulation package is currently R-21 in the exterior walls and R-38 in the roof. You can upgrade the roof insulation to R-45 for a minimal charge depending on the manufacturer. Additionally, the foundation must have a minimum of R-13 in the walls if it is under ground, but where a significant section of the foundation is above ground you will need R-21 insulation. If you don’t insulate your basement wall you can install R-30 in the floor. The other item to consider is how you will be using your basement. Will you want it heated? Will you be putting a garage in your basement? If you are heating your basement you will probably want to insulate your foundation walls. Typically garages are not insulated or heated and ceiling insulation is your best option. Our housing consultants can help you think through these items and make the best choice for you and your new home.
Manufactured homes will have different standard insulation values as standard depending on the manufacturer and series. However, you will typically find R-11 or R-13 minimum standard in the floor, R-19 with 2″ x 6″ side walls, and R-22 in the roof.
At the end of the day…
Upgrading insulation is on our list of top 10 things to upgrade. It is not an expensive upgrade and it will save you money over the long run. The most important insulation to upgrade is your roof insulation. Heat rises and the roof is where you lose the most amount of heat. This also explains why the code requires the roof to be the highest insulated component of your house. It may not be glamorous, but additional insulation is one of the best ways to spend your housing dollars!